New Weston businesses reflect on opening during coronavirus pandemic
- Credit: MARK ATHERTON
Two Weston business owners who threw open their doors in the midst of a pandemic have described what it has been like to trade and run a new company in lockdown.
Daniel Strange and his partner of 18 years, Sarah Moseley, own The Strange Catch in West Street. In March 2020, their lives were turned ‘upside down’ when Shapwick School, where they worked and lived in Bridgwater, was shut down following the announcement of the first coronavirus lockdown.
Daniel said: “The school closure left us and our three children with no home, Sarah and I with no job and very few options for our family. With very little employment or housing available and after 30 plus interviews for jobs, we had to look at other options.
“I had always had a business plan in place for a takeaway as I have worked in catering since I was 11 years old, my parents had a chippy in Glastonbury in the late 1980s, and after many discussions, we decided to rent a fish and chip shop in Weston in December last year.
“The first six weeks were incredibly hard-work bringing the kitchen up to specifications and making sure that health and safety requirements were met. On February 4 2021, we opened for deliveries and after six weeks we opened the doors for takeaway.
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“We only use fish carrying the MSC label and we have recently started to offer a gluten-free menu, which has really taken off. We are also proud to say that all of our packaging is either compostable or easy to recycle and we are around 90 per cent single-use plastic-free.
“I can't say that the whole process has been easy and opening in lockdown has been something very hard indeed, but my thought process has been that we lost everything in March 2020 and if we can make this work during a difficult time and the continued support of locals, we should have a successful business in the future.”
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Your Houseplants, in South Parade, which stocks a range of houseplants and accessories, opened on September 18 last year .
The shop is the brainchild of David Rickett and Deanna and Sean Swords, who together have more than 90 years of experience in the plant trade.
Sean said: “Business has been really good since all the shops have reopened in Weston. Surprisingly, we are attracting customers from further afield, too, and we now have regular customers from Bristol, Bath, Clevedon and much further beyond."